Some Germans lack imagination


The UK’s exit from the EU is not unimaginable. The rest of the EU would get over it. Let me reassure my German friends . An independent UK would want to let German carry on selling all the goods to us they currently sell.

As the German Finance  Minister wisely said when he could imagine the UK’s exit, Germany would want a trade agreement with the UK on exit. As the  minority in the UK who want to stay in only ever argue about the need to preserve the trade, they should accept that it is in the rest of the EU’s interest to do just this!

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  1. Peter van Leeuwen
    Posted June 30, 2014 at 6:12 am | Permalink

    There will always be trade. Completely out is very well imaginable. But so is completely in. Britain is not as different from mainland Europe as is often made out.

    • Hope
      Posted June 30, 2014 at 7:11 am | Permalink

      JR, more worryingly is the article by Cameron in the DT. Does he realise that Merkel made it clear in a press conference that closer union applied to ALL 28 nations. No other nation is listening to him. This is in stark contrast to what Cameron thinks or is pretending to convince the British public so he can be PM under false pretences. Reading the article I am left to believe he is a liar, or deluded. If he is so determined to prevent closer union with the EU why did he allow £18 million of taxpayers’ to be spent on exactly that? I cannot believe a word he says.

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted June 30, 2014 at 1:14 pm | Permalink

        In his article Cameron also pretends that it was the Lisbon Treaty signed by Labour “which gave to the European Parliament the right to approve the nomination”. Surely he must know that is not true, no such change was made through the Lisbon Treaty; it goes back originally to the Maastricht Treaty agreed by Major, through which the Parliament was granted not only the right to be consulted on the composition of the next Commission but the power to veto any proposed Commission that it didn’t like for any reason, for example that it had the wrong person as President.

    • Martyn G
      Posted June 30, 2014 at 8:01 am | Permalink

      you say ‘…not as different from mainland Europe’. Well, because of the dilution by uncontrolled immigration that may soon be the case, which I suspect is a political ambition and factor in events concerning the EU these days, but in the past (and our memories are long) England has stood, across the centuries and usually alone at first until able to call on other nations and the Commonwealth, to bring down Spanish, French (twice) and German (twice) dictatorships.
      Us old ‘uns (and many others) therefore have little faith or trust in the new, albeit benign dictatorship known as the EU. We want our freedom to do what is best for the UK in amicable partnership with other EU nations and not ruled by the EU commission. Not that the EU commissioners take much notice of nationhood and continue their drive towards eliminating any sense of identity other than that of being a citizen of the EU. I won’t say what I think of the comedy traveling road show known as the EU Parliament!

      • Peter van Leeuwen
        Posted June 30, 2014 at 8:59 am | Permalink

        @Martyn G: The EU is no dictatorship, repeating something endlessly still doesn’t make it true.

        • libertarian
          Posted June 30, 2014 at 10:44 am | Permalink


          A dictatorship is a form of government where the rulers aren’t subject to opposition, take no input that doesn’t agree with theirs and has no demos or public mandate

          Therefore the EU IS a dictatorship by definition.

          • Peter van Leeuwen
            Posted June 30, 2014 at 3:37 pm | Permalink

            @libertarian: your “definition” is neither a description of the EU, nor a definition of a dictatorship. How about buying a dictionary?

        • MartynG
          Posted June 30, 2014 at 12:02 pm | Permalink

          Peter, perhaps I am wrong but my understanding of the situation is that the EU Commissioners effectively dictate directives etc to the EU Parliament for them to be rubber-stamped through. By all accounts the sheer volume of directives, regulations and so on piled onto the EU Parliament means that very little gets properly scrutinised or debated in detail. Sadly, I have to say that our national Parliament has now also been reduced to pretty much rubber-stamp things into law and ignoring or bypassing the voters.

          We continue to await properly audited EU accounts, which for decades have been shrugged off unaudited and those who have tried to bring order out of that chaos have been chucked out of office, or worse. So, benign though it is, from my perspective the EU is a dictatorship and so constructed that no one person seems to be responsible for the way it works.

          • Peter van Leeuwen
            Posted June 30, 2014 at 7:21 pm | Permalink

            @MartynG: if you go to youtube and type “how it works: european laws” you’ll find a clip explaining the process. The Council or the parliament can ask the commission to initiate a regulation making process (even citizens if they provide enough signatures), but the commission actually initiates it. Both council and parliament make amendments and, after negotiations between council and parliament have to agree (co-decision). That is not rubber stamping. The non approved audits are based on similar misinformation, because inaccuracies are almost entirely happening in member states, which the commission has no direct control over. A ‘dictatorship’ would have such control.

          • a-tracy
            Posted July 2, 2014 at 11:17 am | Permalink

            Peter regarding the accounts, you state that “non approved audits are based on similar misinformation, because inaccuracies are almost entirely happening in member states”.
            Which member states?
            Why are they getting away with it?
            Why can’t they be fined or kicked out?
            Isn’t the UK threatened with fines every year is it only those that pay in anyway that get fined?
            Is the UK giving “misinformation”?
            I don’t believe that the commission has no control over the accounts of the EU.
            You’ve now made me really curious and I want to know more. This is something UKIP could really start to publicise, name and shame the Counties getting away with screwing up the accounts. Give us the figures of how many people are employed by the EU commission to create these unaudited accounts? Who is responsible for them the new President of Europe – what is he responsible for if its not to ensure the figures stack up.

          • Peter van Leeuwen
            Posted July 2, 2014 at 9:45 pm | Permalink

            You have to get someone who can google for you, and then look for:
            2012 Annual report, EUROPEAN COURT OF AUDITORS

            However, in the press release I read:
            “EU accounts signed off, but errors persist in all main spending areas, say EU Auditors”

        • Lifelogic
          Posted June 30, 2014 at 1:33 pm | Permalink

          Well there is no single dictator I agree – but it clearly is antidemocratic to its very core.

          • Bazman
            Posted June 30, 2014 at 6:12 pm | Permalink

            Like a state ruled by a financial elite or is that just ‘sensible’?

          • Peter van Leeuwen
            Posted June 30, 2014 at 7:23 pm | Permalink

            @Lifelogic: I sincerely believe that the EU is already more democratic than the UK, its main shortcoming remaining its distance. As such I do support more involvement of national parliaments.

    • ian wragg
      Posted June 30, 2014 at 8:27 am | Permalink

      Never. We are totally different to continental Europe and will never accept soviet style subjugation or Napoleonic law. It will not be long before Germany gets fed up with the southern states and permanent bale outs.
      With the election of Junket it will soon become obvious to all but the most blinkered the (wrong) direction the EU is taken and I think even the government will be recommending an out vote.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted June 30, 2014 at 10:05 am | Permalink

        Cameron and his half EUphile party will surely never be recommending out? Not Miliband or the Libdems.

      • Peter van Leeuwen
        Posted June 30, 2014 at 10:28 am | Permalink

        @ian wragg: Some British feel they are totally different but others don’t. It is certainly not my experience when I’m in Britain and talk to people.

        • stred
          Posted July 1, 2014 at 8:53 am | Permalink

          Peter. You are right. The majority of British people do not understand how the EU works and believe most of what the state media tells them- just like people in the rest of the EU. In some EU countries, a growing minority think the EU sucks and vote accordingly, including the UK. Their views are ignored and they are given little time on state media or the liberal press. Where possible their finances are attacked using electoral law, while ignoring the large scale state support for pro EU parties.

          It sounds quite like the position in China or Europe pre-war fascist countries. If it sounds like a dictatorship and it looks like a dictatorship,…………………………. .

      • Hope
        Posted June 30, 2014 at 11:06 am | Permalink

        I am beginning to realise Merkel runs the EU. Whatever she wants she gets. She did not want the othe alternative as he is the socialist opposition. She can control Junker. The nonsense about 28 countries appears to be losing ground every day. Why does Germany always get to call the shots?

        We now have a bit of spinning and carrot dangling because the UK cash cow is wanted by the EU.

        • APL
          Posted July 1, 2014 at 6:52 am | Permalink

          Hope: “I am beginning to realise Merkel runs the EU. ”

          All power is at root economic.

          You can buy your way, as America did in Europe after world war two, or you can beat your way as America did in Asia after world war two.

          But with out the economic ‘muscle’ it’s just empty posturing, like the EU today.

          The EU tries to buy it’s way but it has to borrow or fraudulently produce every sous. Today, likewise the US.

          Germany by comparison to its peers in the EU, has a decent economy and the economic ‘muscle’. They are bound to be able to get their way.

          After WW2, the UK political class, made the decision to follow socialist welfare policies, the consequence is that we have 50% of our economy directly run by the civil service, and dependent on the other 50% which is regulated and more or less run by the state too.

          We pay about 20% of the population not to work the result is our economy is dying, and we can’t afford to maintain our armed forces nor project economic power.

    • Leslie Singleton
      Posted June 30, 2014 at 9:01 am | Permalink

      PvL–Hogwash–You drive on the other side of the road, eat horses and frog legs, there are God knows how many languages (is it 24?) which we neither want nor could possibly learn, the EU conflicts with the Anglosphere, our histories culture religions and legal systems are very different, there is no chance we shall join the EU, I for one couldn’t find some of the countries involved on a map, and couldn’t care less, you are now severely upsetting Russia with your conceit et cetera. And don’t forget the fortune we pay in continuously and the immigration and the ridiculous plethora of silly regulations that we have to suffer, which only keep coming because overpaid bureaucrats naturally need to find themselves something to do. Never any comment why the EU has to be so different. If you don’t like Canada on the edge of the USA bloc how about Japan on the edge of Asia: Japan manages to get by with I suspect next to no trade with China and is New Zealand aiming at ever closer union with Australia? The whole thing is an unnecessary scarcely credible fabrication. It could all collapse so easily. There is a big world out there.

      • Leslie Singleton
        Posted June 30, 2014 at 10:42 pm | Permalink

        Oops–Meant no chance we shall join the Euro of course

      • Leslie Singleton
        Posted July 1, 2014 at 10:11 am | Permalink

        Post Postscript–Furthermore we are an island race and very happy to be so but we have disassociated ourselves from our kith and kin over the seas largely because of the EU. Hardly believable really.

        • Peter van Leeuwen
          Posted July 1, 2014 at 8:50 pm | Permalink

          I don’t mean to be harsh Leslie, but this time your contribution might just be a little dissociated from reality: your kith and kin aren’t waiting for you but have moved on to the 21st century. You might find the (very) odd Australian or American who still feels like Anglospherical like you, but this utopia is just a nostalgic dream. It is clear from American, Canadian and Australian leaders, that they see the UK’s place inside the EU (even though it is just their opinion, it is of course not for them to decide). Take some time to read article 49 in the TEU and you’ll understand that instead of some aggressive EU expansion, it is more a matter of not discriminating against other European countries. Look at your building and historical architecture and you’ll see that you are rooted in European culture.

    • acorn
      Posted June 30, 2014 at 9:33 am | Permalink

      Peter, we don’t really fit in the EU. We don’t even drive on the same side of the road.

      And crossing the Channel, one cannot say much
      Of French and the Spanish, the Danish or Dutch
      The Germans are German, the Russians are red,
      And the Greeks and Italians eat garlic in bed!
      The English are moral, the English are good
      And clever and modest and misunderstood.
      And all the world over, each nation’s the same
      They’ve simply no notion of playing the game
      They argue with umpires, they cheer when they’ve won
      And they practice beforehand which ruins the fun! (Flanders & Swann)

      I have come to the conclusion that we would be better off leaving the EU as soon as we could get an agreement to join the NAFTA (North American Free Trade Agreement). Americans and Canadians, not so much Mexicans, are our kind of people. Let’s face it we invented America and Canada. And, the US is about the only non-EU country we have a positive trade balance with.

      By then there will be this giant Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), between the US and the EU. So we might be able to get a slice of that in the bargain. A trade agreement better than anything the UK could get on its own with the EU by the back door entrance.

      So the Germans will still be able to flog us €22 billion worth more than we flog them. The Dutch and the Italians about €7 billion each more. I presume the €30 billion China and the €20 billion the Norwegians make out of us, will still carry on.

      • Peter van Leeuwen
        Posted June 30, 2014 at 1:50 pm | Permalink

        @acorn: :):) thanks for the poem. The Mexicans are indeed a team better to get rid of, but I’m still sorry Wayne Rooney and the English didn’t practice beforehand. David Cameron, trying to imitate the populist (damp rag) attack owned by Nigel Farage didn’t work out either, 2- 26, that’s not a good score!

        All the same, like you, I’m convinced that when the US and Canada implore the UK to remain an EU member, they’re only camouflaging the secret nifty NAFTA negotiations going on with the UK. 🙂

        • Bob
          Posted July 1, 2014 at 7:55 am | Permalink


          “David Cameron, trying to imitate the populist (damp rag) attack owned by Nigel Farage didn’t work out either, 2- 26, that’s not a good score! “

          Don’t be fooled by David Cameron’s opposition to Juncker, it was contrived to make him look EU sceptic. He always knew the outcome and has already said he can do business with the man.

          • Peter van Leeuwen
            Posted July 1, 2014 at 8:54 pm | Permalink

            @Bob: I realise that, but in the process he has upset most other government leaders, and as serial loser may become a bit of a liability. Can he still be considered able to deliver a positive outcome?

    • cunctator
      Posted June 30, 2014 at 11:58 am | Permalink

      to Peter van Leeuwen
      You are clearly too young to remember when the UK was so very different from the rest of Europe. In the time before the 40 years of Euro-Socialist -Corporatist tampering with UK institutions and ways of doing thing destroyed so many institutions that made us different ,we were just simply superior and far more advanced than most of Europe.

      • Peter van Leeuwen
        Posted June 30, 2014 at 7:34 pm | Permalink

        @cunctator: Nice of you to make this compliment to a pensioner. I have actually seen it all happen for quite a few decades. Maybe a few British at least still feel superior? 🙂

  2. Lifelogic
    Posted June 30, 2014 at 6:19 am | Permalink

    The UK’s exit is not really imaginable to me under heart and soul, no Greater Switzerland Cameron and a conservative party that is mainly for staying in. Especially with the BBC essentially acting as the EU’s voice.

    Jo Swinson MP, Cameron “Equalities” Minister pushing the new flexible working hours rules this morning. In yet another government attempt to make industry less efficient and generate more parasitic employment tribunal activity.

    • Hope
      Posted June 30, 2014 at 7:13 am | Permalink

      How about Cameron opting back into the EU arrest warrant when there are no effective controls on the borders! Can he guarantee jihadists fighting in hue he Middle East are not entering back into the country? Cameron is really deluded when he says the arrest warrant will help prevent terrorism? I thinks he needs help.

      • bigneil
        Posted June 30, 2014 at 11:10 am | Permalink

        If the jihadist gone out to the ME has a family of his own here, but he happens to become disabled or killed out there, where does that leave his family here – straight on benefits? No income? The legal aid lawyers would soon be on it. We will end up paying – in more ways than one.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted June 30, 2014 at 7:51 am | Permalink

      The government says these new “legally enforced” flexible working hour rules will make industry more efficient! What complete and utter drivel. What on earth makes government think they know more about how the thousands of various businesses operate than the owners/directors/managers do?

      They have never even visited them, other than perhaps to demand money off them with menaces? It will make them less competitive, put yet more burdens on them, make them less profitable, create more jobs for parasitic lawyers and HR experts. The businesses will thus pay less in taxes, yet another own goal from this Libdem led government.

      • Bob
        Posted June 30, 2014 at 8:52 am | Permalink


        “What on earth makes government think they know more about how the thousands of various businesses operate than the owners/directors/managers do? “

        The government want the private sector to become as “efficient” as the public sector. More evidence that the Tories have lost the plot.

        • Lifelogic
          Posted June 30, 2014 at 10:07 am | Permalink

          If the private sector became as efficient as the state sector 90% of it would be out of business and GDP per cap would be decimated.

    • Jerry
      Posted June 30, 2014 at 8:23 am | Permalink

      @Lifelogic: You do realises that Switzerland is, whilst not a member of the EU, far more integrated into the EU that the UK is, a “Greater Caymans” or a “Greater Bahamas” (without the weather of course…) might be a better analogy if you want out from the EU and small taxes/state.

      A Greater Switzerland is not much different to a Greater Texas, think about it! 🙂

      • Lifelogic
        Posted June 30, 2014 at 10:10 am | Permalink

        Indeed but a Greater Switzerland on Sea, such as the UK, looking out to and trading with all the World is clearly far better.

        • Bazman
          Posted June 30, 2014 at 6:21 pm | Permalink

          Again you spout drivel about a greater Switzerland without being able to defend this idea. Are you deluded?
          What if, and I know this may seem impossible in your right wing fantasy land, a state run service is providing good cheap service at low rates and in some cases providing an income stream for the state Should this service be privatised even if it costs more and provides a worse service?
          Do reply in a ‘sensible’, intelligent way if you can as I have noticed like many other I’m sure that you rant without sense or reason believing you own the facts. I this for any particular cause hoping to make enough stick or just stupidity? Do tell as you claim to be reasonable and logical, hating extremism and no scientific factual debate. All evidence points to this being untrue.
          Are we there yet? Are we there yet? Are we there yet?

          • Edward2
            Posted July 1, 2014 at 3:13 pm | Permalink

            Well I for one would prefer to live in an independent nation in which its people have a direct vote for those who are in power rather than in a United States of Europe.

            If the USE was bringing good employment prospects, freedom and increasing prosperity I would perhaps change my mind.
            PS no need to be quite so shouty rude Baz.

      • bigneil
        Posted June 30, 2014 at 10:59 am | Permalink

        Greater Texas just needs a slight alteration to become relevant to the uk . . . Greater Taxes.

  3. alan jutson,
    Posted June 30, 2014 at 6:42 am | Permalink

    Let us hope that we can put it to the test in 2017, if the vote ever happens.

    As you correctly say John, trade is a two way agreement, but so many people do not yet seem to realise this, including many politicians and the media.

  4. Roy Grainger
    Posted June 30, 2014 at 6:56 am | Permalink

    I suppose it is unimaginable to Germans in the sense they can’t imagine being left as consistently the only major net contributor to the EU without anti-EU sentiment developing in Garmany too.

  5. oldtimer
    Posted June 30, 2014 at 7:03 am | Permalink

    Perhaps you should mention this to Mr Cridland of the CBI. He appears content to sacrifice political independence for QMV so that the interests of big business (much foreign owned or controlled) are protected.

    • Hope
      Posted June 30, 2014 at 11:09 am | Permalink

      Cheap labour subsidised by the taxpayer, that is all business is interested in.

    • Sebastian Weetabix
      Posted June 30, 2014 at 3:32 pm | Permalink

      Of course Mr Cridland is in favour of the EU. He has spent his entire career in the public sector and quangoland. Just like the rest of the people on the CBI board he has no knowledge or experience of turning widgets or actual real business. He represents the corporatist/statist view.

  6. Alan
    Posted June 30, 2014 at 7:34 am | Permalink

    The trade argument may well be an important element in any campaigning before a referendum. The Treasury has said that about 3.3 million UK jobs are ‘connected’ to trade with the rest of the EU. (It has not said they are dependant on membership.) When the time comes to vote these 3,3 million people, and their dependants and others that they influence, may well vote to stay in even though they know that their jobs will probably continue if we leave the EU. They will think, why should I take a chance?

    So I can see why the EU sceptics work so hard to defeat this. But it is a losing battle. The EU sceptics have to concentrate on other policies.

    I don’t think the arguments for being in or out of the EU are based on trade any more, even though I do think our trade with the EU would be a bit more difficult if we left and we would eventually find ourselves a bit poorer than if we had stayed in. Trade was an argument for the mid-20th century (when we did become a bit richer after joining, although even now we don’t know whether or not it is because we joined).

    The real arguments now surely revolve around how the UK and the EU is to be run in the 21st century. I think it is better if we work together. In the 20th century we had trouble appreciating how our role as an imperial superpower was being diminished. Nowadays we seem to be having trouble appreciating how our role as a European nation is evolving.

  7. JimS
    Posted June 30, 2014 at 8:00 am | Permalink

    I’ve never understood what the ‘above the table’ case is for being in the EU. Trade deals, international standard setting, common positions on international relations etc. can all be achieved by inter-governmental discussions far more flexibly and quicker if that is required.

    Are cheap air fares good? That was the case being made at the previous EU election. And the benchmark for ‘cheap’ were the fares to North America! That didn’t need political union. Are trade deals good? My MP talks as if the EU-USA arrangement is a ‘done deal’ (it isn’t) and that it is ‘good’. Well Canada has had a deal for the last 20 years and Australia for the last 10. No political union there!

    Are international standards good? Representatives from countries all over the world shape these daily via ISO so why do we need political union?

    I can only conclude that there is some ‘under the table’ reason why political union is essential. Why would any sovereign nation want to ‘pool’ sovereignty? I have no wish to direct what other countries do, why should they get to direct what my country does?

    • Jerry
      Posted June 30, 2014 at 2:23 pm | Permalink

      @JimS: “Trade deals, international standard setting, common positions on international relations etc. can all be achieved by inter-governmental discussions far more flexibly and quicker if that is required.”

      Indeed and I don’t think anyone has said that they can’t, but the argument seems to have been that all can be done far quicker – meaning that all member states have the same rules – trouble is, whilst the actual inter-governmental (EU to non-governmental) discussions are indeed quicker the inter-EU (EU exec. to member states) discussions are taking even longer, just look at the current negotiations regarding the envisaged Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership.

      I’m sure that the UK and USA could have had their own trade deal etc. 30+ years ago but of course the EEC/EU rules prevent(ed) it from happening.

  8. RichardWS
    Posted June 30, 2014 at 8:20 am | Permalink

    One only has to observe the volume of cars from Mercedes Benz, BMW, VW, Audi et al to confirm that the UK is an important market for Germany.

  9. Denis Cooper
    Posted June 30, 2014 at 8:22 am | Permalink

    Has Cameron ever publicly stated that he can imagine the UK outside the EU, and that idea does not fill him with fear, let alone that he could imagine himself playing a leading part in a campaign for the UK to leave the EU?

    • Hope
      Posted June 30, 2014 at 11:14 am | Permalink

      Lord Tebbit asks in his article what is Cameron’s destination and route map ie when is he going to tell us what he intends to renegotiate. Or is it like Hague claims that the public will not be consulted in this respect? Another example where the public begin to realise the lack of interest what the UK thinks, the whisper of a voice to those countries demanding more of our money and Cameron NOT being able to do anything about it. When he does have a bargaining chip ie fiscal pact, does not use it.

    • matthu
      Posted June 30, 2014 at 12:22 pm | Permalink

      No, and therein lies the problem.

      That is twhy The Independent is today reporting that Europe rejects Cameron’s empty threat that the UK may leave the EU. They simply don’t believe him.

      And neither do the UK electorate.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted June 30, 2014 at 5:37 pm | Permalink

        Why would anyone believe him, given his ratting and actions so far? Anyway he only has about a 10% chance of an overall majority, and the chance of a majority enough to ignore the Ken Clarke wing is virtually zero.
        Assuming he actually decided to leave the Clarke wing.

  10. Atlas
    Posted June 30, 2014 at 8:42 am | Permalink

    One point of view concerning the Germans is that “they wish to have their cake, eat it, but still have their cake”. By this I mean they want the Euro, all the trade but do not want to subsidise those parts of Europe that are crippled by the Germanocentric economic policies now being pushed through the Eurozone.

    Everybody outside Britian wants Britian in the EU. Why? – Answer because we make sustantial net payments in it. We are subsidising their inefficient pipe-dreams.

  11. yohodi
    Posted June 30, 2014 at 9:43 am | Permalink

    I think it comes down to the fact that the British are European by geographical definition only, we are simply not continental….there is indeed a world of difference..

  12. Denis Cooper
    Posted June 30, 2014 at 9:49 am | Permalink

    I note the opening paragraph of the editorial in the Telegraph today:

    “When David Cameron vetoed a proposed European treaty change in December 2011, the response in this country was rapturous. It did not matter that the victory itself was qualified, with the proposals concerned (to push ahead with integration in the wake of the eurozone crisis) being adopted by the rest of the European Union via a new compact. To once more have a Prime Minister who was prepared to stand up for Britain’s vital interests in Europe, even if it meant isolation, felt cathartic.”

    But that rapture was short-lived; it got the Tories on level pegging with Labour in the opinion polls, at the expense of Labour, the LibDems and UKIP, all three to differing extents, but only briefly; once it became apparent that Merkel was going ahead anyway and that Cameron was not going to carry out his threat of preventing her using the EU institutions for the purposes of her “fiscal pact” the Tory gains were more than reversed and moreover the disillusionment gave a powerful boost to UKIP:

    If Cameron thought that by making a fuss about the appointment of Juncker he could get another “rapturous” response from the country and that would help the prospects for his party at the next general election he was probably mistaken about that from the start – because so many people have become cynical about the games he plays and the shows he puts on – but that will be confirmed if he once again fails to follow through on any of the unspecified but no doubt terrible “consequences” that he has threatened.

    • Hope
      Posted June 30, 2014 at 11:19 am | Permalink

      Good post.

      A bit like his claim to cut the EU budget. He did not cut the UK contribution. The UK contribution will increase. This part was left out of his article today together with the rest of his failings as you mention above.

      Tebbit’ s article today is worth reading.

  13. Lindsay McDougall
    Posted June 30, 2014 at 9:49 am | Permalink

    The time has come to convert general principles of renegotiation into specific demands with ‘red lines’. My minimum, as I have said before, is:
    – Repeal of our Acts of Accession to Maastricht, Nice, Amsterdam and Lisbon Treaties
    – Ending our commitment to ever closer Union
    – Full control of our own borders
    – A consequential reduction in the powers of the various European courts

    Senior Eurosceptics should draw up their own list of ‘red lines’ and press the Prime Minister to publish his after consultation.

    The background is that the latest opinion poll shows a swing from the Conservatives to UKIP, with polling conducted on 27th June, the day after Nigel Farage asserted that the Prime Minister’s renegotiation policy would get nowhere.
    Your move, Mr Cameron.

    • Jerry
      Posted June 30, 2014 at 2:39 pm | Permalink

      @Lindsay McDougall: Your minimum equals a full UK exit, not even being a member of EEA and I’m not even sure about EFTA, as the EFTA is within the Schengen Agreement.

    • APL
      Posted June 30, 2014 at 8:08 pm | Permalink

      Lindsay McDougall: “into specific demands with ‘red lines’.”

      Oh come on! How many times have we heard a politician blather on about ‘red lines’ only to find out that not only have they subsequently been crossed, but the British politician never laid them down in the first place.

      ‘red lines’. Let’s consign the term to the same trash bin as ‘the slow lane’, ‘two speed Europe’ and all the other verbal diarrhoea the British political class seems to suffer from.

      • Lindsay McDougall
        Posted July 3, 2014 at 8:49 am | Permalink

        ‘Red lines’ cease to be ‘blather’ when you spell out what they are – and put them in your manifesto.

  14. Kenneth
    Posted June 30, 2014 at 9:50 am | Permalink

    I have never understood why anyone can stand on a platform claiming that our trade will be damaged if we left the eu.

    As I am sure they know that their statements are false I could never respect nor vote for any politician who says such cynical things.

    However, that aside, the rest of the eu members would have a big problem if they lost the large subscription from the UK. This would leave Germany footing most of the bill and I cannot see how that would be sustainable.

    As such, the UK exit would not only be good for us but may also free Europe as a whole from the anti-European eu.

  15. Ex-expat Colin
    Posted June 30, 2014 at 10:09 am | Permalink

    Some Germans lack imagination..ah yes! Trouble is that those in the hard core (majority) part of the EU have applied too much imagination…the wrong kind in my view. Very costly, awkward and greatly undesired.

    Those cars of course and just about most of the spares from Germany. In the case of Ford extraordinarily expensive and a lot of it costly/unnecessary (CAN bus etc)…unless you’re loaded of course. I note a widespread 2nd hand parts market existing (eBay and elsewhere)….thankfully but somewhat dangerous.

    I think you can negotiate as much as you like. How any of that gets past the member countries I simply cannot imagine. Once this EU junket got rolling I should imagine the benefits to the centre multiplied greatly and no doubts feeds the imagination of hard line enthusiasts. More, more, more!

    Just hope UKIP et al can derail it….

  16. Bert Young
    Posted June 30, 2014 at 11:23 am | Permalink

    Germans have always been good development engineers and very consistent in maintaining manufacturing standards ; what they have not been good at is in creating product design ; this explains why the design and development departments of German automotive companies have so many Brits . The Royal College of Arts has long been the breeding ground of automotive ideas ; another similar institution in Switzerland is highly regarded but nowhere near as successful . With the exception of Ferrari , Formula One is conceived , developed and manufactured here ; German follow up to our creativity is an ideal relationship .

  17. ian
    Posted June 30, 2014 at 12:03 pm | Permalink

    hi john just thought i drop you a line on european union by the numbers. 5% goods into european union is 90 billion pounds gross give or take, usually you would see a 10 percent gross profit for companies give or take which would be 9 billion pounds gross profit before tax. A lot of companies sell at cost or at a loss so they can buy more commodities to make the goods cheaper to sell hear. excess go”s to european union. Companies like rolls make the big profits. As for the common agricultural policy which broke the country in 1977 and not the unions and the labour party, why because they put a tax on food commodities, that why are food costs a third more than us, canada, and the rest of the world. It about 50 billion pounds a year, so if you came out of european union you could put 20% vat on food and raise about 33 billion pounds on top of the membership fee and food would still be cheaper with the vat on it. With the saving wet and mad would be able to build his toy train set hs2 hs3 and we might be able to use it. 50 pounds a trip instead of 200 pounds a trip. Profit before dreams. With the 132 billion i have all ready raise for him. I have more in the pipe line.

  18. ian
    Posted June 30, 2014 at 2:19 pm | Permalink

    European union QE october and US doing away with all cash dollars,

  19. waramess
    Posted June 30, 2014 at 3:16 pm | Permalink

    As the EU is no longer just about trade it is no wonder the Germans will do whatever it takes to ensure Britain does not exit, short only of letting them have any treaty concessions.

    This institution is about Empire building and the only question is for whose benefit and what is the ultimate goal?

    Germany, as a founding member, presently derives the greatest benefit by far and has the greatest influence so maybe it would not be unreasonable to conclude that they are behind the relentless drive to expand the EU borders.

    If this is the case why might the Germans be willing to see the exit of a nation of 65 million people?

    So long as Britain is run by Europhiles, however else they might style themselves, the UK will continue within the EU and will become inextricably absorbed in time.

    The UK electorate have been badly let down by self serving politicians. To me it will matter not a jot because the development of this monster they call the EU will take a while longer but, dwell on this: the EU are deficient in energy resources and they are slowly building a border with a country rich in energy resources and not much else.

    A worrying agenda and Putin will be sure to have spotted it a long time ago

    • stred
      Posted July 2, 2014 at 6:25 am | Permalink

      Where in Europe is the largest area with rich black soil, suitable for growing crops for biodiesel and ethanol. Answer- Ukraine. Even better- it has not been privatised yet and will be going cheap. Now that Charlie and his chocolate factory is in charge, the way is clear.

      • waramess
        Posted July 2, 2014 at 5:29 pm | Permalink

        You are of course joking

        • stred
          Posted July 3, 2014 at 7:56 am | Permalink

          A lot of the argument is about energy. Why do you think the Russians uase their TV to run scare stories about shale gas fracking and the US is keen to get twice the price of shale by flogging it to the EU?

  20. Edward2
    Posted June 30, 2014 at 4:57 pm | Permalink

    There is a more important question that should be put to the people in any future referendum which is:-
    Do you wish to be governed in the UK by the United States of Europe Yes or No.
    The current argument is always about trade, whereas the real question is. do we wish to become a subservient suburb of the USE.
    One vote in a group of 28 gives us little power especially with QMV and when so few put money in and a majority take money out.
    There is a valid argument for giving votes to each nation in proportion to the money paid in.

    • Jerry
      Posted June 30, 2014 at 7:37 pm | Permalink

      Edward2: There are many aspects to EU membership, it would be wrong to ask a leading question on the ballot paper, never mind the fact that your question might actually backfire on those who want a Brexit. Quite a few people might actually like the idea of a -to use a Lifelogic ‘ism- “Greater USA”, unfortunately it will be nothing like the USA as the EU parliament and executive is nothing like that of the USA.

      • Edward2
        Posted July 1, 2014 at 6:30 pm | Permalink

        Yes Jerry, you make some good points and I think you are probably right.
        My biggest dislike of the current in/out arguments is that they concentrate on trade whereas my main worry is about who should govern us.

  21. Marg Brandreth-Jones
    Posted June 30, 2014 at 6:02 pm | Permalink

    This speculation does not surprise me. Germany does not want a dictatorship any more than we do.

  22. Qubus
    Posted June 30, 2014 at 6:08 pm | Permalink

    Mr Redwood,
    Is There any chance that you could provide us with a list of how much (+ve or -ve) each individual country contributes to the EU?

  23. Bazman
    Posted June 30, 2014 at 6:34 pm | Permalink

    What makes you think all these foreign companies will want to stay in an offshore Britain facing tariffs? If you think there will be no consequences then you are wrong. A race to the bottom is what the Tories want and hope that the companies will stay due to less tax. Well as soon as the infrastructure begins to collapse they will be off and the days of hammering the indigenous workers are over. At least those just above the breadline with skills. A skilled metal worker I work with today tell me he has sold his overpriced house near Cambridge and is off to Spain no ifs, no buts, one months notice and thanks for the work. To expensive to live here he says. It’s not only the rich and large companies that can leave and as we have seen in BAEs recruiting problem many will not work for low wages in a managers paradise, being told they cannot afford to pay them more as wages it seems are rising according to texts I receive from agencies. Oh no! Wage inflation what should the government do?! How can we stop this?!
    Laws to prevent tradesman leaving and pay restrictions. Don’t rule anything out in a right wing dream world of ‘free’ markets and communism for the rich.

    • Jerry
      Posted July 1, 2014 at 4:37 pm | Permalink

      Bazman: “What makes you think all these foreign companies will want to stay in an offshore Britain facing tariffs?”

      What makes you sure that there will be tariffs, and even so, for example, it will not stop BMW or JLR selling their products made in the UK to no EU countries, it will not stop Honda or Toyota shipping their products back to the far east, were they were going anyway. OK, so Ford might chose not to stay but then that’s been on the cards even as a member of the EU, and will any company in the EU want to face our own tit-for-tat import tariffs when they sell their products to the UK – something they do far more of then the UK selling products to the EU, no they will be pushing the EU to agree a free trade deal with any Brexit. Oh and once again I see you do not actually understand our true trading situation, probably thinking that all the containers leaving on ships for Rotterdam get unloaded in that port, they don’t, they go on to the RotW.

      As for BAE etc, yes certain sections of our diminished defence and aircraft sectors might have problems due to being tied into european projects [1], but then again it might be the kick up the ‘never mind’ the industry needs, after all we will not be dropping out of NATO (nor the UN) and with our savings from not paying the EU membership fees we might be able to afford to re-equip our once great navy etc…

      [1] but we must not confuse european with EU (even more so when they are NATO related), such contracts would likely survive, at least short term

    • Edward2
      Posted July 1, 2014 at 6:40 pm | Permalink

      In your fantasy do you think the UK would just sit back and not apply equal or higher tariffs on any EU country unwise enough to begin a trade war.
      When you consider just how important trade in the UK is for Germany and France is this a very likely scenario anyway?

      Other nations have decent infrastructure combined with competitive levels of corporate taxation so again I think your other fantasy of a a ” collapse in infrastructure” is unlikely.

      In your last fantasy, are you now telling us there are shortages of staff because its not long since you were complaining about high levels of unemployment on here so which is it?

      • Bazman
        Posted July 2, 2014 at 5:23 pm | Permalink

        You all laughably overstate the importance of Britain. The companies would pull out and relocate to cheaper areas of Europe as many are already doing such as Poland and Czech Republic. Have a think why the car plants and other companies are here? As for trade wars and tariffs Britain is just one market and with all the lost jobs due to these relocations we will not be much of a market anyway for consumer products and the rich can only drive so many cars. Third world tax haven springs to mind.
        There is high levels of unemployment in the unskilled market, the large number of jobs available require specific skill in specific geographical areas, but if you paid the skilled workers high rates there would be no shortage of course. Are they to subsidise these companies by accepting low wages that do not cover living costs? The companies in many cases have priced shirtsleeves out of the jobs market.

        • Jerry
          Posted July 2, 2014 at 9:04 pm | Permalink

          @Bazman: Now you are just getting plain desperate, even prepared to talk the UK down in your attempts to stay in the EU! But then (if your rational is correct), if the UK has nothing to offer these companies they will not stay in the UK anyway, they didn’t set up shop in the UK as some kind of charitable act, as commercail companies if it’s cheaper to move production to the east, if labour skills are better in the east, if the logistics are better in the east of the EU then they will move whether the UK is in or out of the EU! Except for one thing, Baz me old mate, the UK is an island on the western side of the EU, very convenient if you want to ship your products, and as I said, EU membership makes no difference to a non EU owned/based company exporting back to the USA, the far east, and BRIC nations, in fact not being in the EU could be a big bonus.

        • Edward2
          Posted July 3, 2014 at 8:55 am | Permalink

          “Laughably overstate the importance of Britain” you say.
          The sixth biggest economy in the world , a permanent member of the UN security council, one the worlds biggest financial centres on the planet and the one of the biggest markets in the world for the German and French car industry.
          The large car companies that have settled here produce mainly for the home UK market and as long as the economy is not trashed again by another incompetent overspending socialist Labour Government with their punitive company tax rates they will stay.
          Its skilled labour they need not cheap unskilled staff. This shows how out of touch with modern UK engineering you are Baz.

          • Bazman
            Posted July 3, 2014 at 5:31 pm | Permalink

            Deluded nonsense. They are here because of the lax labour laws and tax system. When these are reduced they will be off for sure and in some cases the lax labour laws have made shutting UK plants more easy than ones at home not to mention political pressures as many of these companies are state owned subsiding their own industries and utilities.

          • Edward2
            Posted July 4, 2014 at 8:42 am | Permalink

            By lax I presume you mean less than 90% rates for the rich which is what you would like to see depite evidence staring you in the face that this reduces revenue and would leave you with less to spend on the poor.

            You seem to think high tax rates and a jobs for life law would bring big companies flocking here to invest and create jobs.
            Yet you have the nerve to call others deluded LOL

  24. Bazman
    Posted July 1, 2014 at 4:31 pm | Permalink

    Interesting to see where the car parts industry locates itself as one of Britains biggest exporters at 10% of all exports when they face some sort of tariff from Europe and where all these foreign owned car companies go should we leave. Are they here for our great infrastructure and education systems. No so have a think why they ship their products into Europe or like where my wife works selling expensive American health products from Britain into Europe by post, in particular Germany. Or where I work selling engineering products into Europe. No Tariffs? As if. They are here for lower costs and when these rise they will be off to cheaper areas of Europe such as the Czech Republic many already have. Priced ourselves out of the bottom. Then what go lower? That the only plan. I ain’t working for nothing and I should imagine the population are not going to either no matter how much the benefits system is eroded and accusations of being unBritish are made.
    Deluded right wing nonsense from those who will not have to face the consequences.

    • Edward2
      Posted July 2, 2014 at 5:55 pm | Permalink

      Banging on about tariffs again I see, as if they are either inevitable or are already in place.
      With France and Germany and other nations stood to lose a lot more than us, who has the power?
      Another unlikely fantasy scenario of yours Baz.

      • Bazman
        Posted July 3, 2014 at 6:37 am | Permalink

        You cant be in the EU and out of it at the same time there will be some penalty or disadvantage imposed. We have more power than all the EU countries combined. Silly little Englander.

        • Jerry
          Posted July 3, 2014 at 11:00 am | Permalink

          @Bazman: BRIC nations, the USA (even without TTIP), Japan etc. are not in the EU but they don’t seem to have any problem trading with member countries…

          The only people apparently talking about trade wars are those in the UK desperate to stay in the EU, other EU member countries are not, nor are the EU commission.

          • Bazman
            Posted July 3, 2014 at 5:35 pm | Permalink

            They trade from countries within the EU Jerry and by setting up companies in America. Britain is not America even in your weights and measures dreams.

          • Jerry
            Posted July 5, 2014 at 8:12 am | Permalink

            @Bazman: “They trade from countries within the EU”

            They trade from their own companies within their own countries, which have subsidiary companies within the EU. The fact that they can do this without being a part of, or have trade agreements with, the EU rather proves that you are bleating up the wrong tree yet again, no one needs to be in the EU to trade with the EU, even less for the EU member states to sell their goods and services to non members.

            @Bazman: “Britain is not America even in your weights and measures dreams.”


        • Edward2
          Posted July 3, 2014 at 5:55 pm | Permalink

          Can you not manage to engage in debate without ending up being rude Baz?
          What is it with the left that they descend to this abusive attitude whenever their arguments are questioned and found wanting.

  • About John Redwood

    John Redwood won a free place at Kent College, Canterbury, and graduated from Magdalen College Oxford. He is a Distinguished fellow of All Souls, Oxford. A businessman by background, he has set up an investment management business, was both executive and non executive chairman of a quoted industrial PLC, and chaired a manufacturing company with factories in Birmingham, Chicago, India and China. He is the MP for Wokingham, first elected in 1987.

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